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Presentation at the House of Lords

Thursday 26 March 2015

House of Lords, Monday 16th March 2015

Arabs and Jews refuse to be Enemies

Presentation by Noam Eliasi-Shuster:

Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam (NSWaS) Second Generation Ambassador

On the eve of the Israeli General Election, the Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and
the Lord Beecham held a reception in the River Room at the House of Lords in support of Oasis of Peace. Originally, we were going to have two speakers, but because of the Israeli general election, Ranin Boulos wasn’t able to come. The TV company she works for cancelled all leave. However, Noam Eliasi-Shuster took time off from her job with Interpeace Israel to speak at the event. Within just a few days, she managed to fit in this special trip to London, go home to cast her vote and then fly off to Washington DC to represent Interpeace.

With an audience of some 80 guests, Noam spoke about her life growing up at Oasis of Peace and her subsequent career. As a child, she attended the Village primary school, where her she had Arab and Jewish friends, and where she learnt to speak Arabic as fluently as her mother-tongue, Hebrew. This strengthened her Middle Eastern identity that is based on family roots in Iran. Throughout her studies at Brandeis University in the USA, where she was a Co-existence scholar, she worked with youth in Rwanda and was awarded the "Davis Peace Prize" for having developed peace-building programmes for HIV positive youth in Kigali. On graduation, she went to Kigali to continue this work. She now works for Interpeace Israel, engaging with a special UN based programme for strategic populations in Israeli society who were previously excluded from the peace process.

Noam gave her presentation against the political background of present-day life in Israel, particularly relevant on the eve of the election. Her outlook and perception of the Israel-Palestine conflict and its ramifications on Jewish-Arab relations inside Israel, together with her choice of studies and career, are of great credit to her upbringing at Oasis of Peace which she now represents so superbly as a member of the second generation.

Quotes from the audience:

"Noam was an absolute star. We will all need her optimism and refusal to give up after what I understand to have been the result of the election."

"Noam was great. I hope she’ll be Prime Minister soon."

"Particular thanks are due to Noam for not only the breadth of her knowledge, but also the clarity with which she portrayed the Village and its aims and answered numerous questions."

"Amazing event last night, very positive. Terrific summary and thoughts from last night’s excellent event at House of Lords. Noam was outstanding and spoke with passion, clarity and honesty. I too was very impressed."

"Hearing Noam and meeting her feels like a turning point - her message is so strong, and acknowledges the difficulty of the path they’ve taken. I think people are ready to hear how difficult it is, they want to talk about it."

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